It’s definitely the end of summer in Greece. The temperature dropped nearly 10 degrees overnight. Yoga practice is always an interesting lens through which to see what’s going on more generally as I observe how my practice differs with the weather. As the temperatures varied my practice went from a joyful and adventurous exploration of warm muscles and wonderful increased flexibility through to the hottest of all days where I moved more slowly a little oppressed by the unusual heat and taking it really steadily — I love it hot, but hey, I’m English, so I’m not really used to it. And then all of a sudden autumn arrived, with the threat of a cyclone storm, the locals say. The much cooler temperatures made warming up more a deliberate effort and outdoor practice was cut short by a rainstorm. I watched these weather patterns; the effect they had on how I felt, how I moved, how the natural environment responded, and the changing beauty of my surroundings with blue skies turning cloudy and autumn leaves beginning to fall in the winds.
And then another significant change occurred that made the effect of weather variations seem merely an interesting triviality and certainly nothing to get attached to or bothered about. So what happened, what changed? Just a fall, just a silly little trip. I slid on a dusty patch on an archaeological site, falling up some steps and landing heavily on my shoulder. Then the rest of the day spent visiting two health centres and a hospital, getting an x-ray, and waiting, waiting, waiting… The bafflement of negotiating Greek health care, trying to muster the words to explain what happened, whimpering with pain as the doctor handled me brusquely through range of movement tests, breathing into the pain and the fear of a dislocation or fracture, finally sobbing with relief at the diagnosis of only contusions to the supraspinatus. Told to rest and revisit in 5 days — at which point I’ll be back in UK and able to chat more freely with my regular GP or physio.
Now 24 hours later I’m filled with gratitude to the site guards who drove me to the first health centre, Hubby who then got me to the hospital and home, the kindly family visitors at the hospital who walked me between departments because I didn’t know the way and couldn’t understand the signs. Grateful, bizarrely, to years of reading Homer in the original Greek, which gave me enough vocabulary of injured body parts on the ancient battlefield to stop the modern doctor x-raying my elbow rather than my shoulder! 🙂
And beyond all this I’m filled with gratitude towards my body which I can feel already healing, magically it seems to me. In the past I have often felt my body to be broken beyond repair, not responding to normal levels of care, so I’m filled with wonder now at what it’s doing unseen beneath the skin. Today I am able to fully extend my elbow — yay! And I can abduct the shoulder maybe 20 degrees or so! Such super powers that were beyond me yesterday are now making life so much more full of potential!
I can also laugh today through the tears of pain as Hubby does his best to help me shower, dress and tie my hair away from my face. Released from some fear of bad injury, I have compassion to comfort him as he is clearly distressed by my obvious pain. Tomorrow together we’ll try to wash my hair, which is unruly at the best of times, being long and thick — and now it’s also tangled from the wind and with dust and dried grass from when I fell. These intimate moments fill my heart, feeling his love and patient care. I’d rather not have the undoubted pain and limited movement, but his tenderness is a balm.
Ironically enough the place where I had this accident was Ancient Olympia, just by the stadium in fact, the birthplace of modern athletic competition. My last tourist photo a little earlier was of Hubby and I lining up on the start-line to run a race. You have to see the funny side! 🙂